GENESEO — Naples outscored Geneseo by 12 points in the fourth quarter to win the quarterfinal match between the two teams by a final score of 64-54 on Friday night. The loss ended the Blue Devils season and dropped their record to 14-6 on the year.
The first quarter opened with a 15-3 run by Naples, but Geneseo went on a 10-2 run – which coincided with senior point guard Mo Carlon’s (16 points, seven assists, eight steals) first minutes of the game – to close out the quarter and cut the Naples lead to just 4 after one quarter.
“We were just turning the ball over,” Geneseo head coach Brian Stout said. “We had 14 first-half turnovers. But then we started making stops, pushing the ball, and got some easy baskets.”
Indeed, by the second quarter the Blue Devils looked like a different team. Aa combination of timely steals and more baskets in transition gave Geneseo a seven point lead at halftime. Carlon had 12 of his 16 points in that quarter, including a three-pointer early and three-point play with a minute left in the half.
A back-and-forth third quarter led to Naples cutting the Geneseo lead to just two entering the final eight minutes of the game. Naples guards drove for two layups, but Geneseo senior guard Dalton VanKleeck (nine points) responded with a three-pointer of his own. Then Naples junior forward Isaiah Tilley converted a three-point play, but VanKleeck came back with another three-pointer. The teams continued to trade baskets until Naples scored six unanswered points to go up 58-52 with two minutes left, and Stout had to call a time out.
“We were looking to trap first and get some steals,” Stout said about what he told his team during the time out. “And if we didn’t get the trap we were going to have to start fouling.”
The Blue Devils were unable to get those steals, and Naples converted seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter to seal it. Junior forward Jake Clar finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and senior forward Elton Johnson added 12 points and seven rebounds.
“The guys did everything I could ask for. They worked hard day in, day out, and sometimes like tonight you just don’t get the bounces down the stretch,” Stout said about his team’s season.